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Linda Garrison

Honor Veterans with War Memorials Visit

By November 11, 2013

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Today we commemorate Veterans Day, a time set aside to honor those who have served in the armed services.
American Cemetery in Normandy, France
This day was originally called Armistice Day, chosen because fighting between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I ceased on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. After World War II, President Eisenhower expanded the observance of Armistice Day to honor all veterans and renamed it Veterans Day.

I have toured many war memorials and battlefield sites around the world, including Belgium, Germany, Russia, North Africa, Vietnam, Japan, and even my home state of Georgia. Each is memorable in its own way and worth a visit when you are nearby. The beaches and American Cemetery at Normandy, France stand out to me, primarily because of the peaceful environment today, which is in stark contrast to the way the beaches were in June 1944 during the D-Day invasion and subsequent battles.

Visitors to Normandy spend the day touring all the places memorialized in history books and the movie "The Longest Day". Normandy is on the English Channel, so tourists can easily visit from either Paris or London. Ocean-going cruise ships porting in northern France and river ships sailing the Seine from Paris include shore excursions to the Normandy beaches and to the cemetery. Seeing the wide sandy beaches crossed under heavy fire and the steep cliffs scaled during the invasion is sobering. Walking the well-kept cemetery and seeing just how young many of the dead soldiers were reinforces the costs of war in irreplaceable human lives.

No matter where your home is, or which battlefield or war memorial you visit, take time to remember those who have served to secure, protect, and defend your freedoms.

American Cemetery in Normandy, France (c) Linda Garrison

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